Working in Hail Saudi Arabia

  1. Hi everyone,
    I am an RN with 6 years ER/cardiac experience. On a whim one day I applied for a job with an agency that hires nurses for Saudi Arabia hospitals, specifically, the city of Hail. ( I never dreamed I would get the job!) I just had my second phone interview and and been extended an offer for a 1 year family contract ( I have a husband and 3 children.) I am getting cold feet now. Is this totally crazy for me to do? I mean I would be moving my entire family to a foreign country for 1 year. My husband said we should go. ( he has beeen unemployed for almost a year and cannot find work no matter what he does!) Has anyone had any experience with working in Hail? What are your thoughts? Is this a bad idea to do with children? I know alot of people who do travel nursing but they are either single or have no children or they are grown. Has anyone done this with school aged children and a baby ( 12 years, 9 years, 16 months) Also, what do I do with my house, car, etc. while I would be gone? I won't be selling them as I need somewhere to return to, etc. For those who own properties what do you do? Do youhave family check on your things?
    Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   79Tango
    I dont think its crazy. I have a buddy in Kuwait. That is a way to make some serious $$. I dont know how it would work with your family but you need shots, passport & language. Hopefully the company can help with all of that.

    You could potentially make super-bank by finding a property manager and leasing your home for the year. If not, a (trusted) family member to come by, start the car and check on things.

    I would research everything you can about the Saudi laws, customs & judicial system. As you know its pretty strict in those parts.
  4. by   RN Zeke
    I have only heard of the companies that make you leave the family behind, unless you are a DR.
  5. by   surething1
    3 questions....

    1. Which agency?
    2. What is pay rate?
    3. How did u manage to get a family contract like the above poster stated I have only heard of single status contracts.

    Overall, I have heard alot of good feedback regarding working in Saudi. Only downside is less Americans are there now as were 15 years ago due to fears of terrorism. However, those I have spoken to that have been there have loved the experience. I say go for it.
  6. by   bagladyrn
    Just a thought here: Have you reconsidered going/taking family with you in light of recent developments? I'm not sure this is a time when anyone American would not be at higher risk anywhere in the Middle East.
  7. by   bonesrn
    A nurse that I worked with in Raleigh, NC went back to Saudi for her second stint and her family went with her. Her husband was in the same job situation as your spouse. I will get her contact info when I go to work tomorrow and ask her if she minds if I pass it on. She seems to love it! I say do your research as far as schooling for kids (home school/cyberschool?) and have the contract checked by lawyer/acct and then pack your bags! If you go, please keep us posted!! Good Luck!!
  8. by   californianurse1974
    I'm an American nurse (Cali gal) currently working in Jeddah,Saudi Arabia on a 1 year contract. To the original poster, only male doctors are allowed to bring family members with them. All others are provided single female or male studio apartment housing, and we all live on one huge complex. My apartment is very quiet. So here's the run down...

    the hospital is nice
    Women can't drive here, you WILL not miss it trust me lol
    english speaking employees from different countries (America, India, Egypt, Austrailia, New Zealand, UK, large number from the Phillipines)
    General salary is $68,000 (tax free)set by hospital, not agency
    53 days of vacation per year
    Single studio apartments on beautiful grounds with pool, jacuzzi, gym, nail salon, small convenience store, tennis court, swimming lessons
    All utilities paid
    Free shuttle buses for transport to work, shopping (16 different malls and souks)
    inexpensive car service/cab available
    no safety issues (this city is very laid back and cool)
    its not like on CNN, its very modern, esp the malls, same stores as U.S.
    nurses scuba dive ALOT here
    social club offered at the hospital to book activities
    we have cell phones and cable satellite
    We don't have to wear our hair covered but do have to wear an abaya(robe) when not on apt complex or hospital grounds

    The ratios are the same here as back home, but most of the units do primary nursing. We have to rotate shifts from day to night every 3 weeks, or you can have a shift buddy if you prefer so you can swap during rotation. I prefer day shift so when its time to rotate, I keep her day shift and she can stay on night shift permanently. We wear all white uniforms, provided by the hospital, except O.R. wears green scrubs. Most of the patients speak arabic but have a family member that speaks english, or we have a coordinator to grab to translate.
    I know people think its not worth it, but trust me pocketing $70 k and not paying rent,insurance, or utilities for a year is SOOOOO WORTH IT!! My salary in California is $89k/year, but I never see it between taxes, rent, bills, etc.

    Also I get to travel to nearby places like Egypt and Dubai without using my vacation time. I've made some great friends from other countries and learned alot. Most of the girls I've met here came on a one year contract but ended up staying for alot longer , anywhere from 4-10 years. If you don't like it here you always have the option to break your contract and leave, but you have to pay for your airfare home.
    When you first get here, you don't go straight to work. You have classroom orientation for almost 2 weeks, then 2 weeks of floor orientation. I must say I'm not in love with primary nursing, but I guess American nurses are a bit spoiled lol. My coworkers are all friendly so I enjoy my unit. However, there is no such thing as home health, palliative, or hospice care. Well, only some of the richer families can afford home health, so you may find patients refusing to be discharged after the doctor has cleared them to go home. The government picks up the tab so the hospital lets them stay. Sometimes for years...Anyway, overall I love my experience here so far. I hope I've answered your questions with my small novel :-)
  9. by   Barkow
    What companies are you guys using to go to the Middle East?
  10. by   californianurse1974
    Everyone I've met so far, myself included, are through Helen Ziegler. They're located in Canada and send out US and UK nurses
  11. by   nephron19
    I am seriously considering saudi arabia as a one year chance to travel and experience something different (while pocketing serious cash).

    Thanks californianurse for you input. How much experience do you think is needed to work there? I have a little over 2 yrs med-surg exp. Do you think I should wait longer? Where else did you get to travel too? Do you actually know anyone who broke the contract early? Thank you so much.
  12. by   surething1
    68k a year based on 36 hrs? 40hrs? 44hrs?

    Can you shed some light on the pay. Is overtime available? What is the overtime rate? Do you get paid in dollars or Saudi money?
  13. by   californianurse1974
    Sorry for the late response nephron
    All you need is one year of hospital experience. When you get here there's an orientation, plenty of skills workshop with CEU's, and you have a preceptor your first month of work.
    You can break your contract at any time, but if you do so before the end of your three month probation, you have to pay your own airfare back home. It's not like stateside contracts where you are penalized with a fee for the apartment, etc.
    Alot of the US, Canadian, and Australian people I've met originally came here to do a one year contract but end up staying for 2-5 years.
    The popular places to travel to are: Egypt, Israel, Turkey, South Africa, Germany, and the UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai).
    Feel free to ask me anything
  14. by   californianurse1974
    Again, sorry for the late response surething

    This is our work week: Five 12-hour shifts one week, Two 12-hour shifts the next week. So basically, you're working one extra shift in a 2 week period. Once per month, you're also required to pick up what's called a "king" shift. So in a total month, you work 3 extra shifts more than you're accustomed to working in the states.
    Overtime is SO available. My unit rotates it among us evenly, we do a first and second OT call,. When you're needed, they go in order of the OT call list. The first OT shift is paid 7% of your base pay, the second OT shift is 15%, etc. We can't go over 8 OT shifts in a month though.
    We are paid in saudi riyals, but the exchange rate is locked in @ 3.75 for our contracts. We are paid once per month via electronic deposit to a saudi bank account. The account is set up when you arrive and your iqama has been processed.
    You earn 4.3 vacation days per month, so we get 54 vacation days per year. Its smart to plan short vacations instead of taking all your leave at once because the week you work the 2 shifts, you can go on vacation for 6 days but only use up 2 days of vacation time. During the first 3 months here, you're on probation and not allowed to use vacation time, and your iqama (saudi work card/passport) is not ready for 2-3 months anyway.
    I hope this helps. Please feel free to ask me anything.
    Last edit by californianurse1974 on Sep 20, '11